Two New Zealanders and a Victorian – it could be the start of a joke; however it’s three horses that rate a leading chance of taking home Sydney’s Group 3 Angst Stakes this weekend at Randwick. Neena Rock, the current $4.00 favourite and Chintz ($7.00) are two Kiwi mares now based in Australian with John Sargant and Joe Pride respectively. The pair bring with them solid race records, ones that they will build on here in Australia judging by their efforts in the G3 Golden Pendant. Spirit Of Heaven is form the Peter Moody Caulfield stables and is at $5.50. She was luckless last start when aiming for four straight wins. The best hope of the race being taken out by a local lies with top-weight Gypsy Diamond. She has tried her hand at some tough races in recent weeks and the return to her own sex and with the services of Blake Shinn who is outstanding form, should produce a significant improvement.
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1. GYPSY DIAMOND – B Shinn (6)
She hasn’t lived up to the expectation that her efforts during the autumn created in three runs back from a spell. The 4yo mare who was formerly with John O’Shea and is now under the care of Snowden Racing, ran second to last in the George Main Stakes (1600m) last fortnight but a return to her own sex, at set weights, should see an improved performance.
2. CHINTZ – T Clark (8)
A New Zealand mare that is now with Joe Pride and who had limited room and luck second up in the G3 Golden Pendant (1400m) a fortnight ago when sixth (2.9 lengths) behind Arabian Gold. Her best form back in New Zealand was over a mile and consisted of a Group 2 and 3 win plus, as recently as this autumn, twice filling a place in Group 1 company. Would include her right in the mix.
3. NEENA ROCK – T Angland (4)
Another Kiwi mare that has caught the eye flashing home in each of her two Australian starts in the past month. The daughter of Fastnet Rock claimed third (2.8 lengths) in the G3 Sheraco behind Catkins when coming from last before again steaming down the centre of the track late, in a race that favoured those closer to the speed and fence, to run fourth in the G3 Golden Pendant (1400m) to Arabian Gold. The big Randwick mile should be right up her alley.
4. ESTONIAN PRINCESS – B Avdulla (11)
Resumed her spring campaign with an honest effort in the Sheraco Stakes, inching closer in the run home from the second half of the field to run fifth (3.4 lengths) behind Catkins. She then settled worse than midfield again in the G3 Golden Pendant but was working home well out wide in a race that favoured those closer to the speed and fence. Will get back again from eleven and whilst she’s a Group 3 winner and does run a cheeky race from time to time – finished second to Sweet Idea in the Magic Million Guineas, think she’ll need to produce a career best to run some of these mares down.
5. INTIMATE MOMENT – S Clipperton (10)
Did all she could do first up on a heavy track when fourth (9.2 lengths) behind impressive winner My Sabeel in the G3 Toy Show Quality before drawing the widest gate in the Tibbie Stakes at Newcastle last month, and finishing well to cross the line in sixth spot, 3.5 lengths behind Fine Bubbles – who has been good again since. Really hit her straps last campaign when her races got to the mile but drawn awkwardly here and given it’s been a month between runs, happy play against her here.
6. BOUZY ROUGE – W Costin (5)
Scone Trainer Luke Griffith has this 7yo mare in the best form of her career at present. She has won three of her last five including the Listed Mona Lisa Plate at Wyong. She too drew wide in the Tibbie Stakes at her most recent run and settled with the tail-enders before weaving her way through the field to claim fourth (3 lengths) behind Fine Bubbles. Drawn to get a great run here and it’s always dangerous to leave a mare in form out of calculations – especially if there were to be some give in the track.
7. FOREVER CRAZY – J Collett (3)
She has been in some solid form, in easier races than this, of late for Trainer Chris Waller, winning two of last four. It was a big effort two starts back to lump 59.5kgs and come from well off the pace to record a head win in a BM 80 before chasing home stable-mate Georgey Aeroplane, who revelled in the heavy conditions at her following and most recent outing at the end of August, finishing second by 5.5 lengths. First go at a Group race here and she’s picked a tough win to contest.
8. SAIGON TEA – G Schofield (7)
Had punters pulling their hair out last campaign, running fourth consecutive second placings – each as the short priced favourite, before finally repaying the faithful with a length win – over four rivals, in a BM 81 over 2400m. Would be waiting for her to have this run and get over a longer journey than this – which will be her first start in seven weeks.
9. DANESIRI – T Marshall (2)
The 6yo mare kicked off this campaign with a bit win at Coffs Harbour, taking out an Open class sprint over 1200m by 1.5 lengths from Youthful King. The daughter of Home On The Grange then didn’t enjoy the heavy track when finishing well outside of the placings in a BM 85 (1400m) at Randwick before running into trouble at a crucial stage from the back of the field in the Tibbie Stakes, finishing eighth (4.2 lengths) from Fine Bubbles. Did run third to Diamond Drille and Mahara in the G3 Aspiration Quality during the autumn and should’ve finished closer to the winner last start. Already specked in betting $21 into $19.00 and could be one for those looking to bolster their multiples.
10. SPIRIT OF HEAVEN – L Meech (12)
The close relation to Lights Of Heaven had no luck last start in BM 90 at Caulfield as she was looking for her fourth win on the trot. She found herself in the middle of the field and with nowhere to go for the majority of the straight, crossing the line under a hold in fifth spot, only 1.6 lengths behind Star Fashion and Suavito. Copped the ‘visitor’s gate’ here but is going very well at the minute and with a touch of luck from the draw, will be in the finish.
11. SOAPY STAR – K O’Hara (1)
It was one day short of a year since her last run when she stepped out in BM 84 (1350m) at Rosehill a fortnight ago. She drew the second to widest gate in the field of fourteen and after settling midfield, not surprisingly knocked up in the run home to finish last, 5.3 lengths behind Woodbine. Will strip fitter for the run obviously but last win was in December 2012 and wouldn’t think she’ll break the drought in a race of this quality on Saturday.
12. VILLA SPLENDIDO – J Benbow (9)
Recorded her second career win two starts back courtesy of a perfect ride from Tye Angland. She was given every chance in the BM73 (1500m) but still had to dig deep late to hold off the late challenge of Wings. Her next and most recent start saw her under the steadier of 60kgs in a BM70 (1400m) at Warwick Farm where she got shuffled back in the run and found it too hard to pick up under the big weigh, running ninth to Peace Force. Will enjoy the weight relief but that won’t be enough to get her across the line here.
The New Zealand fillies stand out here. Just hoping that, over a mile and with a few runs under their belts, they don’t get as far back as what we’ve seen them do recently. Spirit of Heaven may be giving them a start given she’ll be jumping from the widest gate but is going well and improving all the time. D-day for Gypsy Diamond this campaign. Punter’s jumped the gun with her early but she finds herself in the right race for the first time this prep and will need to show something if she’s to warrant a trip south. Bouzy Rouge will get a good run from five and run a cheeky race with Intimate Moment the value runner.
- NEENA ROCK
- SPIRIT OF HEAVEN
- GYPSY DIAMOND